DIY Compost Tea

This is the final installation of my composting series. Today I discuss other uses for your compost, which by now has been super charged with biochar. There are a lot of companies out there that sell their version of compost tea mix. I won’t say they don’t work because I have never tried them. What I do know for sure is that they cost an arm and a leg, which is why I make my own. Still, a little research and perseverance led me to discover some of the most commonly used ingredients in compost tea. As I stated in my last post, good compost tea is a blessing. Used often enough, it will turn your garden into your own personal Eden.

My Recipe                                               Other Materials

Azomite aka rock dust                                   Large bucket

Bat guano (liquid or powdered)                   Large sprayer

Emulsified Fish                                                Long rubber gloves

Hydroponic Fertilizer                                     Garden sprayer or watering can

Molasses (liquid)                                             A pair of stockings, pant sock or a nut bag

Compost                                                             A fish tank pump

Filtered water or rain water                          Bread tie, wire or string for tying

I fill my 5 gallon bucket almost to the top with rain water or filtered water (you can review my blog on DIY Nurseries for the reason why). All the liquid materials go into the bucket. The solid materials such as the rock dust and compost go into the legs of the stockings. You will need gloves to handle these ingredients. Try to find long rubber gloves and don’t wear your good clothes or shoes. You may also want to cover your hair. Unlike the picture above, I place each tube from the pump inside the stockings just above the solid materials and then tie off the top of the stocking with wire. I use the weight of the stockings to keep the tubes submerged because I do not have air stones as shown in the photo. Stones procured from the garden were either too light or too heavy and blocked air flow. In addition, placing the air pump so close to compost mix in the stockings ensures faster microbial growth due to the exposure to the oxygen bubbles. Once set, turn on the pump and leave it running for at least 24 hours. When lots of foamy bubbles form on the surface of the tea it is ready for use. Reapply gloves; cover the spray bottle’s or sprayer dispenser’s mouth with another stockings or a nut bag to strain out the sediments from the tea. Fill the spray bottle or the sprayer dispenser with the liquid. The left over solid materials in the stocking, left at the bottom of the bucket and what was strained can be mixed into the roots of the plants with a trowel or placed at the base of the stem of the plants. Spray your plants from top to bottom. If your plants are showing signs of stress or disease, use the tea to water them every day until they recover. Throw away any plants that don’t show signs of improvement or a halt in the spread of the disease after one week. Do not compost diseases plants. Do not let diseased foliage rot into the soil. Remember to wash your hands after dealing with diseased plants especially before touching healthy ones. Once the plants show that they have recovered, you can reduce the use of the tea to once or twice a week.

Caveats

Making the tea should be done outdoors because it stinks to high heaven. Do not be surprised that if after 24 hours or soon after mixing your tea that you start to notice bugs in the water. While spraying the plant leaves is recommended; especially in the presence of some diseases and fungus, there will be a strong fishy odor. Unfortunately, this will attract flies but it will make the plants stronger and better able to fight off disease and pests. Overall, continued use of compost tea in your garden will help make your plants pest resistant and disease resistant. You can avoid the fishy odor by only spraying the base of the plants or not using the fish as a part of the mixture. The fishless tea mix can be used on houseplants. In addition, planting blooming flowers with strong perfume such as lilies, roses and citronella helps to compensate for the odor. Furthermore, once the solution evaporates, you can water the plants to wash off the fishy residue and the smell along with it. Regardless, your blooming and fruiting plants will love you for it.  Give making compost tea a try and tell me how it works for you. Remember to share your results here and your pictures on my Facebook page. You are also welcome to share your own gardening tips and advice. Don’t forget to like, thumbs up and share.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

 

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